Summer 1999, p.12

Volunteer of the Month: Andrew Hay McConnell

Andrew in action at the T.A. table during Brooklyn's Seventh Heaven street fair.Age: Fiftysomething...but feel much younger.
Occupation: Treatment Coordinator, for people with developmental disabilities.
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
T.A. Member Since: On and off for four years, but this time it's forever, baby!
What got you started? I've been cycling, since I was "dragged up" in London, England. I started in pre-puberty, when I was delivering newspapers. The USA beckoned to me when I thought I heard George Bush talking about "a thousand pints of lite." After coming to New York, I decided to risk cycling again, and heard about T.A. around 1991 via a friend living on the Lower East Side. I had been a member of a British version of T.A., called Cycle Bag.
Cycle Bag!? Yes, Cycle Bag. It's a great organization. We cleared miles of disused railway line and rebuilt it as a car-free cycling and jogging lane. Currently, they are developing the 8,000-mile National Cycle Network.
Volunteering endeavors? Since re-joining T.A., I've taken part in mailings, phone campaigns for a Car-Free Prospect Park, and tabling at public events. I also represent T.A. on the Brooklyn Downtown Traffic Calming Committee.
What would Austin Powers say about a Car-Free Prospect Park? "Groovy, Baby! Particularly if it means more 'Prospect' of lotsa shagging!! Oh behave!"
Close Encounters: During a tabling at Grand Army, I talked to one elderly, rather eccentric gentleman, dressed in a suit and a grubby Parks Department baseball hat. He kept mumbling about a car-free park not being nirvana. I thought he was probably a Buddhist who knew what he was talking about, until he identified himself as the Parks Commish, Henry J. Stern!
What did you do in England before immigrating? Jumping out of planes 28 times, the same number Jimi Hendrix made in the US Airborne! Also, I was patrolling stupid oil installations in Libya, in the early 1960's B.K. (Before Khaddaifi!)
London vs. NYC: I commute to work, but when I'm hyperventilating and breathing in noxious fumes, I feel sick. I now wear a GreenMask, which although uncomfortable, helps me breathe more easily. Cycling here compares favorably with London. Drivers speed more there, and will not honk to let you know they are coming. I am biased since I still have two long metal pins in my tibia, obtained after a nasty hit-and-run in the UK. I was hit, and he ran! But thanks to a top orthopedic surgeon, I did not lose the full use of my right leg below the knee. In any case, cycling in both cities demands maximum alertness.
We want you to: Join the Brooklyn Committee! We are an enthusiastic bunch who want to improve conditions in our neighborhoods for all peds, cyclists, and skaters and take back the streets from an out-of-control car-centric culture. We also want to have fun, while using our collective 21st century imaginations to improve the quality of life.